Why artists love opera as a subject..
Opera is a rich resource for an artist, because there is no lack of material from which to draw inspiration. Dramatic- romantic - or just plain "theatrical" - it's all there!
Opera posters are fun because a poster takes the subject to another level. Add to that, the results obtained by using special mixed media to give the subject a living appearance and the work becomes even more interesting. A poster can be as dramatic as it wants to be.
Even more than a traditional painting, the poster challenges the artist to capture the essence of its subject and create or convey a particular mood and as such, it can become a theatrical work in itself.
The great thing about opera art (and particularly posters), is that they are in a special class of their own – ideal for the opera enthusiast and the collector…or even someone who has little or no interest in opera at all- who just want’s something a little more dramatic than a plain picture on a wall.
When the artist has done his job right, he hopes the person looking at the opera poster can almost hear the music of the opera and for those who have seen a performance of any particular work, it is hoped that the poster will bring the music back into their minds.
To the “uninitiated” it is hoped an opera poster can still bring out a certain feeling of the drama and perhaps even spark an interest to know more about it.
Often, while creating opera posters the artist will immerse themselves in the music of the particular opera just to get the feel of it.
This is because every opera has a different feeling or "flavour" that is particularly it’s own. It is this essence or mood that the artist tries to capture.
These days, particularly in contemporary locations and homes, and in corporate settings, poster art has achieved recognition as a dynamic art form as never before. Whereas a conventional painting is frequently identified as a rather “passive” object- a poster can be (and often is) far more dramatic and theatrical and demands that even the most casual observer is drawn into it.
To many people, a framed poster can fill a space or create interest and set a mood on a wall better than most objects. Whether dramatic, even brutal, or gentle and romantic, it can be hard to ignore. Feel free to visit the poster gallery and see why opera and poster art is an ideal marriage of art forms.
Mixed Media and Assemblage Art
Assemblage is an artistic process in which a three-dimensional artistic composition is made from putting together various objects. It is therefore an ideal way to create artwork that appears more alive.
The origin of the word (in its artistic sense) can be traced back to the early 1950s, when Jean Dubuffet created a series of collages of butterfly wings, which he titled “assemblages d'empreintes”. He was not the first exponent of the art, however, as both Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso had been working with “found objects” for many years prior to Dubuffet. They were also not alone.
Alongside Duchamp, the earliest woman artist to try her hand at assemblage was Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the Dada Baroness. In addition, one of the earliest and most prolific was Louise Nevelson, who began creating her exciting sculptures from found pieces of wood in the late 1930s.
Today, as an artistic expression, the assemblage artist is not limited purely to “found objects”…he or she may combine things found in nature with manufactured objects. Indeed, some of the most powerful compositions can be combinations of the two.
In 1961, the exhibition "The Art of Assemblage" was featured at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition showcased the work of early twentieth century European artists such as Braque, Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, and Kurt Schwitters alongside Americans Man Ray, Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg, and also included less well known American West Coast assemblage artists such as Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner and Edward Kienholz.
William C Seitz, the curator of the exhibition, described assemblages as being made up of preformed natural or manufactured materials, objects, or fragments not intended as art materials.
Assemblage has an appeal and a language all of its own. Harnessing the power of an inanimate object, it can draw the viewer into seeing an object from a different perspective – whether it is part of another story or subject, or whether it is the story itself, it’s inclusion in assemblage art can draw us in and invite us to see it through entirely different eyes.
This is because of the artist is able to put the spotlight on specific features of an object or its relationship to other things around it. Recognising this, many contemporary painters have incorporated inanimate objects into their paintings.
Australian artist, Brett Whitely frequently included objects or mediums to add a three dimensional aspect or a different texture to a part of a painting. Photo composition is commonly added. (See Opera Arts Poster "Ercole S'ul Termodonte" above).
Our featured “Opera Arts” artist likens it to “painting with bits and pieces”…although many of his works go beyond specific items as he also uses different materials as to create a specific effect or texture.
The pictured art above is a tribute piece to the Spoletto production of Vivaldi's "Ercole S'ul Termodonte" and features the American tenor, Zachary Stains.